Impaired autophagosome clearance contributes to neuronal death in a piglet model of neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy

Derong Cui, Dawei Sun, Xintao Wang, Liye Yi, Ewa Kulikowicz, Michael Reyes, Junchao Zhu, Zeng Jin Yang, Wei Jiang, Raymond C. Koehler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


To examine the temporal relationship of cortical autophagic flux with delayed neuronal cell death after hypoxia-ischemia (HI) in neonatal piglets. HI was produced with 45-min hypoxia and 7-min airway occlusion in 3–5-day-old piglets. Markers of autophagic, lysosomal and cell death signaling were studied via immunohistochemistry, immunoblotting, and histochemistry in piglet brains. In vitro, autophagy was impaired in cultured mouse cortical neurons treated with chloroquine with or without rapamycin for 1 d in the presence of Z-VAD-fmk, cyclosporine A, or vehicle control, and cell viability was assessed with the MTTassay. In vivo, neuronal cell death of sensorimotor cortex was delayed by 1–2 days after HI, whereas LC3-II, Beclin-1, PI3KC3, ATG12-ATG-5, and p-ULK1 increased by 1.5–6 h. Autophagosomes accumulated in cortical neurons by 1 d owing to enhanced autophagy and later to decreased autophagosome clearance, as indicated by LC3, Beclin-1, and p62 accumulation. Autophagy flux impairment was attributable to lysosomal dysfunction, as indicated by low lysosomal-associated membrane protein 2, cathepsin B, and cathepsin D levels at 1 d. Ubiquitin levels increased at 1 d. Autophagosome and p62 accumulated predominantly in neurons at 1 d, with p62 puncta occurring in affected cells. Beclin-1 colocalized with markers of caspase-dependent and caspase-independent apoptosis and necrosis in neurons. In vitro, mouse neonatal cortical neurons treated with rapamycin and chloroquine showed increased autophagosomes, but not autolysosomes, and increased cell death that was attenuated by cyclosporine A. Neonatal HI initially increases autophagy but later impairs autophagosome clearance, coinciding with delayed cortical neuronal death.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2919
JournalCell Death and Disease
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Impaired autophagosome clearance contributes to neuronal death in a piglet model of neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this